Baylor and I picked all home teams last week, so went 2-2. If Mariota didn’t have the greatest luck of all plays, we’d have been 3-1. Oh well.
ATL @ PHI 4:35 NBC
Jules: This one is tough. Atlanta’s defense has been coming along and their offense is finally clicking. Nick Foles has had an extra week of practice, that should help get his timing down and help heal up some players they need.
The Eagles are a complete team, they’re playing at home, their secondary is 4th best I believe and they’re not bad against the run. With that said, the Falcons can match them point per point. These two teams are evenly matched; however, Philly doesn’t have Devonta Freeman or Matt Ryan.
The Falcons outdoors vs Nick Foles. I’m picking ATL because they have more experience on their team and played last week.
Baylor: Philadelphia: Even with out Wentz, the Eagles are still a terrifying team. With a stout defense and ton of offensive weapons, any mediocre quarterback should be able to put enough points to give any team a run for their money. Nick Foles is far better than mediocre.
Atlanta always seems to win when I pick against them, but I’m just not sold on them as a legit contender this year. It’s all a bunch of hot air.
TEN @ NE* 8:15 CBS
Jules: Unlike the Bird game, this one isn’t tough. The bummer of a crappy pass resulting in a P.O. win is KC may have had a chance of beating NE, again. Of all the teams left, no one will lose as easily than Tennessee. Sorry, but they are this year’s lucky team. Every season there seems to be one that makes it a round who doesn’t belong.
They’re the team you look at and ask, where are they dominant? I don’t have an answer. I would have to say that he and Blake Bortles are twins in that when they get in the Red Zone, what happens between the 20s doesn’t matter. They’re money. Other than that, NE* should have an easy night.
Baylor: New England: As much I hate it, New England is far better. Tennessee shouldn’t be in this game. They had quite a few lucky breaks in their last game and through out the season, but playing a team as seasoned in the playoffs as the Pats, a few lucky plays won’t get them a W.
JAX @ PIT 1:05 CBS
Jules: The Keys to this game is simple for Jacksonville, if they can execute it. On offense, target the empty zone. Pitt has a secondary that is just ok. They’re going to want to load the box to stop the run and force Bortles to throw. He’ll need to find the sweet spot behind the linebackers and in front of the safeties. Do that a few times and they’ll have to drop back which will help Leonard Fournette. Dink and dunk like this keeps the defense rested.
In the red zone, have 19-0 TD-INT Bortles, throw. Don’t know why he’s good down there, but he is. Will his streak continue? Who knows, but it’s good odds to try.
On Defense, Doug Marrone said it best, they’re going to play man, and blitz every play. Big Ben may be tough to take down, but he’s easy to hit and he scrambles like Manning. Jalen Ramsey on Antonio Brown and Bouye on whomever, let’s the rest of the defense focus on stopping Bell and keeping passes short, do that and they will sack and intercept. My brother and his family flew up for this game, I’m picking Jax. (PLEASE)
Baylor: Pittsburgh: The Steelers are a healthy team with the best 3 prong attack in the league. While the Jags defense will slow them down a little bit. I don’t see Bortles and Fournette will be able to out produce the Steelers offense, despite the the Steelers defense not being top tier. The Steelers have been my AFC Super Bowl pick since the midway point, and I’m continuing to stick with it
NO @ MIN 4:40 FOX
Jules: I think overall, NO has a better team. Drew Brees has played in many PO games, home and away. Case Keenum hasn’t. Not to mention, neither has this team. There’s something to be said about teams with experience.
Plus, give me Kamara and Brees over Keenum and and company. These are two dome teams so weather won’t be an issue which will help both older QBs; however, I do like that the Saints have experience and did play last week. Unless you’re someone like NE*, I’m not so sure getting a week off is a good thing for teams without an experienced QB.
Baylor: New Orleans: This game is by the game of the weekend. I’m going with New Orleans because no one has been able to stop their run game. Giving a quarterback like Drew Breeze a solid ground attack to free up his receivers is a set up any team in the league should envy. While Minnesota has been dominant and has home field, I just don’t like the match up of their defense against the Saints. I’m going to call a shootout in this one.